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Electrification and Energy Transition Panel

Published on
November 17, 2022

On April 22nd, the Ministry of Energy announced they will be launching the Electrification and Energy Transition Panel, to be Chaired by David Collie, former President & CEO of the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). Today, the Ministry of Energy has announced the two panelists who will be accompanying Mr. Collie, Dr. Monica Gattinger and Chief Emily Whetung, former Chief of Curve Lake First Nation. Howard Wetston will serve as the Panel's special advisor.

The Panel will provide advice and guidance on coordinating long-term energy planning, in particularly how to support rising energy demand and the transition to low-carbon fuels using new technologies, while also achieving sustainability and affordability. They will prepare a report to give the Ministry of Energy with the cross-sector insight and expertise to create an efficient pathway to improve long-term planning. By establishing a more secure environment for investments, integrated planning will increase Ontario's competitiveness and benefit ratepayers.

The Electrification and Energy Transition Panel has three objectives including Electrification, Integration, and Engagement. 

  • Electrification: Provide advice on short-medium- and long-term opportunities for the energy sector to help Ontario’s economy prepare for electrification.
  • Integration: Identify opportunities to strengthen Ontario’s long-term energy planning process by better coordinating the fuels and the electricity sector.
  • Engagement: Engage with key stakeholders, building on input received by the Ministry through prior engagements on long-term planning.

In terms of the Panel’s Timeline, there are five phases.

Phase 1: Ministry establishesPanel; appoints and onboards Panel Chair

Phase 2: Ministry commissions ‘Cost-Effective Energy Pathways Study’ and appoints additional Panel members

Phase 3: Panel gathers evidence, conducts stakeholder and Indigenous engagement activities

Phase 4: Panel develops broad options for the province based on input, initial Pathway Study results, and contextual research

Phase 5: Panel finalizes report and recommendations for the Minister of Energy

The objective of the Energy Pathways Study is to adopt an integrated approach to the economy of Ontario and its trajectory of growth across many sectors. The study will examine various cost-effective routes, offer expert guidance on coordinated, comprehensive long-term energy planning, including technology alternatives to get ready for the switch to a decarbonized energy system. It will also serve as a crucial component of long-term energy planning. The outcomes will make it possible for the Government and the Panel to advise the Minister more effectively on strategic energy options that may result in broader economic advantages.

Currently, the Independent Electricity Systems Operator and the Ontario Energy Board, among other organisations, have provided preliminary briefings that have identified concerns and questions pertaining to the energy transition. The need for coordinated planning between the natural gas and electricity systems, the uncertainty surrounding future demand, Ontario's strategic opportunities to support industry competitiveness in a net-zero world and its positioning in the global value chain for the green economy, the potential impact of emerging technologies in a transformed energy market, cost impacts and cost certainty for consumers are some of the emerging themes. 

This Panel will build on the plan the Ontario government is currently implementing to meet emerging energy needs and ensure a reliable, affordable, and clean electricity supply including:

  • Procuring 4,000 MW of new electricity generation and storage resources, which includes the largest procurement of clean energy storage in Canada’s history.
  • Rolling out $342 million in new and enhanced energy efficiency programs while helping families and businesses reduce their electricity use so they can save money on their energy bills.
  • Supporting Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG)continued safe operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station and tasking OPG to update their refurbishment feasibility assessment for the station. Building Canada’s first grid-scale Small Modular Reactor (SMR) at OPG’s Darlington site.
  • Directed the Independent Electricity SystemOperator (IESO) to recontract clean generation at existing forest biomass and hydroelectric facilities.
  • Conducted a successful Medium-Term Request forProposals to recontract existing resources at a 30 per cent discount, keeping costs down for ratepayers.

In terms of next steps, the Panel will finalize initial briefings and evaluate what they heard to inform an interim report to the Minister. They will decide which issues should receive priority attention in the final report and will commence formal stakeholder andIndigenous engagement activities.

Biographies of Panel Members and Participants

Mr. Collie spent 13 years as the President and CEO of the Electrical Safety Authority and previously was the President and CEO of Burlington Hydro Electric Inc. and held senior executive positions at Hydro One Inc. and Halton Hills Hydro. Mr. Collie is also a founding member of the Energy Transformation Network of Ontario. Mr. Collie is a faculty member of the Directors College of Canada and the Energy Executive-in-Residence. He is the past Chair of Plug ‘n Drive and the Electricity Distributors Association as well as Past Vice Chair of the Energy Council of Canada. Professionally, Mr.Collie is a Chartered Professional Accountant (“Fellow”) and a Chartered Director.

Dr. Gattinger is Director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy, full professor at the School of Political Studies and Founding Chair of Positive Energy at the University of Ottawa where she has worked for 20 years. She is a fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, board member of the Clean Resource Innovation Network, and serves on advisory committees for the Institute on Governance, the National Research Council Canada, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, the Ontario Energy Board, the Ottawa Science Policy Network and the University of Calgary. Dr. Gattinger received the 2020 Clean50 Award for her thought leadership in the energy sector.

Chief Whetung grew up in Curve Lake First Nation. She pursued a Bachelor of Arts at Trent University and a Juris Doctor at Osgoode Hall Law School after which she practiced Real Estate Law for a decade. Ms. Whetung was elected Chief of Curve Lake First Nation from 2019-2022. She is passionate about the rights of First Nations people, including protecting the environment for future generations and protection of Treaty Rights. She uses her expertise and knowledge to ensure that the voices of Indigenous people are heard and respected and for finding ways to ensure economic advancements occur in sustainable manners and building healthy relationships between First Nations and Canadians.

The Honourable Howard Wetston, K.C. was appointed to the Senate of Canada on November 10, 2016, to represent Ontario and served until June 3, 2022. As Senator, he participated in a number of committees, including Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators; Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources; and Banking, Trade and Commerce. He was Chair and CEO of the Ontario Securities Commission from 2010–2015, Vice-Chair from 1999–2004 and Chair and CEO of the Ontario Energy Board from 2003-2010. He was also Canada’s Commissioner of Competition from 1989-1993. He is a Senior Fellow of the C.D. Howe Institute. In 2016, the Honourable Wetston was awarded the Order of Canada for his significant contributions as a public servant, jurist and regulator.

Happy to Help.

Kristina Matovich, Research Associate, Energy Practice: kmatovich@sussex-strategy.com

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